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STREET WISE Alliance of Insurance Agents of NC
WHAT WE DO MAY SURPRISE YOU We work hard to serve the citizens and businesses in this state and we do so in a variety of ways, some of which may surprise you. Learn more about your Department of Insurance by reading below and by visiting the homepages of our insurance divisions and the Office of State Fire Marshal. Convenient links to each are on the menu above.
You probably think the Department regulates insurance companies and agents — you are correct, we do. Any insurance business in this state first must be approved by the Commissioner, and companies and agents must meet rigorous standards before they receive a license to do that business. But did you know we also provide other services not directly associated with insurance? Some of the things we do that may surprise you include:
The General Assembly created the North Carolina Department of Insurance in 1899. Licensing and supervision of insurance companies were previously delegated to the Secretary of State’s office, but a group of insurance agents felt a specific state agency dedicated to overseeing the insurance industry was needed. Lawmakers agreed, and the Department of Insurance was established on March 6, 1899.
licensing bail bondsmen overseeing motor clubs and collection agencies protecting consumers from fraud and illegal behavior with a staff of sworn law enforcement officers in our Investigations Division
Now, more than 100 years later, the Department of Insurance provides valuable services to the people of North Carolina by regulating the insurance industry, licensing insurance professionals and others, educating consumers about different types of insurance, handling consumer complaints, and much, much more. The Department also houses the Office of State Fire Marshal, which is responsible for a host of other services that improve North Carolinians’ daily lives. With some 400 employees and 20 divisions, much of what the Department of Insurance does directly affects you as a citizen, though you may not realize it. AIANC’s STREET WISE
educating North Carolinians about safety issues such as child safety seats, fire protection, natural disaster preparation and other family safety issues interpreting the state’s building codes and suggesting new and improved codes to further protect citizens Continued on page 2
More “News, Satire & Opinions for Independent Agents from Independent Agents” at www.AutoInsuranceAgentsNC.com
What We Do May Surprise You Continued from page 1 obtaining and maintaining insurance coverage for all state-owned buildings, including such items as the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington and the campuses of the state university system assisting the elderly and others with Medicare and Medicaid questions through our nationally recognized Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program Overall, we strive to provide high quality service to North Carolinians across the state. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to contact us in Raleigh or at one of our regional offices in New Bern or Asheville.
The NCDOI investigators are helping other law enforcement officers in Moore, Okla., with proactive antifraud efforts to protect homeowners from scam artists who target disaster victims. The team arrived in Oklahoma on Tuesday and expects to return on Sunday. NCDOI is prepared to provide other assistance as requested. "I am very appreciative of the assistance offered by Commissioner Goodwin and the North Carolina Department of Insurance,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak. “Their dedicated investigators are trained to spot insurance fraud and stop criminals in their tracks. I have no doubt their presence will make a big difference in Oklahoma disaster zones."
Five Arrested in Alleged Durham Staged Accident Scam Two others wanted for suspected insurance fraud
Cumberland County Man Arrested for Alleged Insurance Scheme RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Darron Terrell Monroe, 22, of 302 McIver St., Fayetteville; he was charged with one count of obtaining property by false pretense. Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that Monroe submitted a fraudulent insurance claim to Omni Insurance Company on Oct. 11, 2012, in an attempt to obtain payment for injuries he allegedly sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Monroe was arrested June 6 in Cumberland County and was placed under a $25,000 secured bond.
NCDOI Investigators Help Prevent Fraud in Oklahoma Disaster Areas RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced today that he has deployed five criminal investigators from the North Carolina Department of Insurance to Oklahoma to assist the Oklahoma Insurance Department in the wake of storms and tornadoes in the state. "As soon as I learned about the storm damage in Oklahoma, I asked how the North Carolina Department of Insurance could be of assistance,” said Goodwin. “My team is committed to supporting our counterparts at the Oklahoma Insurance Department as they help their communities recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Oklahoma during this difficult time." AIANC’s STREET WISE Page 2
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of five people in an insurance fraud scheme involving staged auto accidents in Durham County. The Department of Insurance requests assistance from the public in locating two additional suspects. Natoyia Barbee, 29, of Wyldewood Drive, Durham, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, attempting to obtain property by false pretense, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, and two counts of insurance fraud. Barbee was placed under a $30,000 secured bond. Ernest Bostic, 30, 3439 Glasson St., Durham, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, as well as two counts each of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and insurance fraud. The bond amount for Bostic has not been set; Bostic was incarcerated at the time of the arrest. Tomika Green, 33, of 1819-D Haverford Road, Durham, was charged with two counts each of obtaining property by false pretense, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense, insurance fraud and misdemeanor child abuse. Green was placed under a $20,000 secured bond. Walter Harris, Jr., 36, 1512 Wabash St., Durham, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and insurance fraud. The bond amount for Harris has not been set; Harris was incarcerated at the time of the arrest. Continued on page 3
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Lachuante Rankin, 30, of 300 Macon St., Durham, was charged with one count each of obtaining property by false pretense and attempting to obtain property by false pretense, as well as two counts each of insurance fraud and misdemeanor child abuse. Rankin was placed under a $30,000 secured bond.
Goodwin Encourages North Carolinians to Prepare for Hurricane Season NCHurriClaims.com provides insurance tips for the hurricane season. RALEIGH -- The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, and Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is reminding all North Carolinians to prepare for severe weather by visiting NCHurriClaims.com.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that between May 4, 2011, and May 22, 2011, the suspects staged three automobile accidents, during which several suspects claimed to be injured and submitted fraudulent insurance claims to Nationwide Insurance Company and Progressive Insurance Company. Nationwide and Progressive representatives alerted the Department of Insurance after discovering that all three accidents involved the same suspects as either passengers or drivers. More than $14,000 had been paid by the insurance companies to the suspects for their medical claims. The alleged child abuse charges stem from allegations that Green and Rankin’s children were passengers in the vehicles during the time of the staged accidents.
NCHurriClaims.com is North Carolina's source of insurance-related information pertaining to hurricanes and other natural disasters. The website includes tips for before and after a storm, descriptions of insurance coverages, important contact information and more. "Everyone in North Carolina is at potential risk of property damage or loss from hurricanes or other natural disasters," said Goodwin. "Don’t wait until a storm is approaching to prepare." To prepare for hurricane season: Review your insurance policies. Make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage for your needs. Know what your policy does and does not cover. Standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage; flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program and must be in place for 30 days before coverage takes effect. Renters should consider purchasing coverage for their personal property through renters' insurance.
Investigators are seeking two additional suspects in association with this case. They are: Antoinette Henderson, 26, of 348 Kilarney Drive, Durham, is wanted for one count each of attempting to obtain property by false pretense, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and insurance fraud. Lenora Jackson-Wilson, 41, 3507 Century Oaks Drive, Durham, is wanted for one count each of obtaining property by false pretense, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and insurance fraud.
Make a home inventory and compile documents. Make a list of your belongings and take pictures or video of them. Keep your inventory list, purchase receipts, pictures/video and copies of your insurance policies in a safe-deposit box or other secure place away from your home, or email them to yourself. Bring copies of important documents with you if you are forced to evacuate.
Criminal investigators are requesting the public’s assistance in locating Henderson and JacksonWilson. Anyone with information on their whereabouts is encouraged to contact the North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840.
Take action to protect your property in the event of a storm. Cover your windows with storm shutters, siding or plywood. Move vehicles into garages when possible, or park them near your home and away from trees. Prevent outdoor items from becoming projectiles that can harm your property or neighboring homes. Grills, patio furniture and potted plants should be moved into the house or garage, or tied down.
The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn state law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance and bail bonding fraud. Since Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin took office in 2009, criminal investigators have received more than 18,600 complaints, resulting in 800 arrests and 430 criminal convictions. These efforts have delivered more than $55 million in restitution and recoveries for victims.
If you have questions or problems concerning your insurance coverage, contact the Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division at 1-800-5465664. Learn more at NCHurriClaims.com--NCDOI--
An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-8076840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.
AIANC’s STREET WISE
Continued on page 4
Charlotte Woman Accused of Filing Fraudulent Claim on Uninsured Vehicle
Insurance Commissioner Requests Correction and Apology for Public Accusation
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Shanikwa Lakengie Miller, 35, of 6830 Old Castle Court, Charlotte; she was charged with one count each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense.
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is calling on North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos to publicly correct and apologize for falsely and personally blaming him for the state's rejection of Medicaid expansion.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that immediately following a single vehicle accident involving her uninsured 1994 Toyota 4Runner on June 31, 2012, Miller added the vehicle to her existing Traveler’s Insurance policy and filed a claim for which she was paid $3,814.13.
According to press reports, when questioned by a local physician about the state's decision to reject Medicaid expansion and its effects on the state’s uninsured population, during a May 10 forum at Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville, Secretary Wos stated: "…in North Carolina, based on our constitution, the issue of Medicaid expansion or not, actually, was the commissioner of insurance’s. Just so that you all know that and are aware of that."
Miller turned herself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office on May 21 and was placed under a $2,500 secured bond.
In response, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin said, "I am offended and truly disappointed that Secretary Wos decided to incorrectly accuse me of being the cause for the state’s rejection of Medicaid expansion. Senate Bill 4 — the legislation that rejected the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina — was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law on March 6 by the Governor. That decision was not within my constitutional authority. I trust that the Secretary will swiftly issue a correction and apologize for her statement."
Two Claims Lead to Charlotte Man's Arrest on Insurance Fraud Allegations RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Chavannes Jean Baptiste, 34, of 8806 Belle Bragg Way, Charlotte; he was charged with one count each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretense. Department of Insurance criminal investigators accuse Baptiste of filing two insurance claims with separate insurance companies for damage to his vehicle as a result of a single accident. Baptiste was allegedly paid $867.36 by Safeco Insurance Company after he had already filed an insurance claim for the same property damage with GEICO.
Forsyth County Bondsman Charged with Impersonating an NCDOI Officer RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Christopher David Manning, 24, of 160 Longbridge Drive, Kernersville; he was charged with one count of impersonating a law enforcement officer, an act prohibited by the North Carolina general statutes relating to licensed bail bondsmen.
Baptiste turned himself in to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office on May 20 and was placed under a $2,500 secured bond. Bail Bond Case Leads to Arrest of Goldsboro Man RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced the arrest of Tobias Audrea Artis, 34, of 416 Miller Ave., Goldsboro; he was charged with one count of acting as an unlicensed bail bondsman.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that on April 18, while working as a licensed bail bondsman, Manning attempted to enter the Forsyth County Hall of Justice and conduct business while impersonating a law enforcement officer with the North Carolina Department of Insurance. The investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Forsyth County Sheriffs Office and the Winston Salem Police Department.
Department of Insurance criminal investigators allege that on Oct. 31, 2012, Artis attempted to apprehend a defendant on a Wayne County bond forfeiture case while he was not a licensed bail bondsman. Investigators allege that Artis failed to renew his bail bondsman license on June 30, 2012.
Manning was arrested on May 1 in Greensboro where he was processed and released on a promise to appear in court.
Artis was arrested on May 20 with assistance from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and released on a written promise to appear in court on June 12, 2013.
AIANC’s STREET WISE
Take the Telephone Doctor I.Q. Quiz
by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
Long ago a good friend once told me, "Nancy, the training your company provides is common sense that's actually NOT very common!" There's a lot of truth to that statement. Yet years later, rudeness and low service levels still plague businesses in every industry. We hope you enjoy taking this customer service quiz to test how common your common sense is.
Chewing gum at work is: A.
A bad breath refresher.
A mirror at my desk will: A. B. C.
Nancy Friedman Customer Experience Expert on Sales and Service Request your Demo DVD now! Call: 314.291.1012 Or click here Visit our new site: www.nancyfriedman.com Get our customer service tips by following us.
C. Nowhere. I'm not able to help anyone.
Everyone needs a refresher.
I need a lot of help.
I never learned any.
Internal customer service means: A.
Be nice to others who come into my office.
The customer is giving me a stomachache.
Give whatever information I can, right or wrong. Wrong information is better than no information.
Leave my phone number twice and slowly.
Leave a good clean joke to keep them smiling.
Not leave a message...just call back till I reach them.
9. Irate callers/customers are important to our company because: A.
It's fun to handle those kinds of calls.
B. At least we get a second chance to make it right.
Get help immediately and advise the person help is on the way.
When I'm having a bad day, I should: A.
Treating my co-workers as customers.
When I'm not able to help a customer, I should: Tell them honestly & thank them for their business and hang up.
Give me bad luck if it breaks.
B. In the message taking scenario.
Remind me to smile BEFORE I pick up the phone.
8. When using voice mail and leaving a message I should:
"How can I help you?" belongs: A. In the initial greeting.
Keep my ego in check.
6. Basic customer service skills are important to me because:
Downright rude and obnoxious. Fugetaboutit!
I finally get to yell back.
Not bother coming into work. 10.
B. Leave my troubles at the doorstep like the song says. C. Tell all my co-workers my troubles to get it off my back.
Asking questions of the customer will: A.
Show I'm interested in helping.
Be considered being too nosy.
I.Q. Quiz Answers on page 8
AIANC’s STREET WISE
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Telephone Doctor IQ Quiz Answers
6. Correct answer is C. We need to treat our coworkers as well as we're going to treat our external customers. Remember: We Are Customers To Each Other. We sure don't need any internal conflicts between co-workers and departments.
Correct answer is B. Anything after your name...erases your name. And on initial greetings, your name is very important. You have answered the phone to help them. It's a given. Those words are best used in a message taking scenario.
7. Correct answer is A. Voice mail was meant to take an effective message. Give details and speak conversationally so the person receiving the message will enjoy it. Effective messages have concrete information - dates, times, names, situations. Leave your phone number - twice and slowly. Make voice mail work for you...not against you.
1. Correct answer is C. Be sure you let the customer know that help is on the way. That's the most important part. 2. Correct answer is B. We need to leave our troubles at the door. Arguments with a spouse or a bad hair day is your problem. Telephone Doctor calls that "emotional leakage." That's getting angry at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not fair, not right and no fun.
8. Correct answer is B. Getting a second chance is golden. And irate callers, while certainly not pleasant, can be the challenge of the day. And they can be satisfied.
3. Correct answer is C. No gum at work - ever. End of subject. If you have bad breath - use mouthwash.
9. Correct answer is B. Listening and questioning skills are very important to excellent customer service.
4. Correct answer is B. The old Telephone Doctor adage..."smile BEFORE you pick up the phone," is the way to make every phone call, or customer contact, a great one. Remember, it's hard to be rude when you're smiling.
Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor, is a featured speaker at association and corporate meetings. For an information packet on Nancy, please email Donna.Bryan@telephonedoctor.com or call 314.291.1012.
5. Correct answer is A. Everyone can use a brush up course. There's a great saying: "When you're through learning...you're through." Never stop taking those little basic skill lessons you're offered. Even if you do know it all...look how good you'll feel about that! AIANC’s STREET WISE
Check it out at www.SehMobile.com
-- They write their own marketing material, rather than get it written correctly so that it converts readers into clients.
Small business owners: Do not let this happen to you By: Jim Connolly I want to share something with you, which is responsible for the demise of so many small businesses. I’m also going to show you how to avoid it happening to you. I witnessed an independent coffee shop self-destruct recently, just as the owner planned it to. Yes, although the owner said he wanted his coffee shop to succeed, his planning was all about failing. He literally (not figuratively) planned for failure.
-- They ‘save money’ by having a crappy website that loses them business, rather than pay for a great site, which attracts clients. -- They let their business plateau for months or years, rather than invest in the help they need to go to the next level. -- They do 100% of the easy stuff, rather than 100% of what’s required.
Planning to fail The owner set the business up in such a way, that his risk and financial investment was as close to zero as possible. That way, if it failed, his losses would be minimal. So… -- The scruffy looking building he moved into, stayed scruffy. He refused to fix it up or pay someone to. He said he thought it wasn’t important, even though he was serving people food and drink! -- There was no investment in advertising or promotion. As his coffee shop was located in a small town, at the quietest part of the high street, no one knew the place was there. -- He set the business up legally, so that there would be very little liability when the business failed and very few costs. He wasn’t going to lose his home or go bankrupt when the worst happened. This is smart, unless, as in this case, it was used as a comfort blanket to stop him from trying to succeed. -- With no investment in making the business work and no penalty for failing, he did indeed fail – and extremely fast. You see, whilst he was playing at being in business, his hungry competitors outworked him and outsmarted him. Business today is extremely competitive and competing retailers are working damn hard to make their businesses work. Going into that marketplace, without the willingness to work hard or invest the money required, he could never have succeeded.
The lesson here? Business has never been more competitive than it is today. As we navigate the worst economy in living memory, it’s not enough to do the easy stuff. Everyone does the easy stuff. It’s easy! It takes courage to invest the time, effort and money required for our business to succeed, but the alternative is to ‘half try’. The demanding marketplace and our hungrier competitors will ensure that ‘half try’ attitude can’t prevail.
Those who succeed The smartest small business owners have already figured it out. They know that success comes from doing the things, which the majority is not prepared to do. They understand the meaning of, ‘Go hard or go home!’ -- They think big, because they know it’s the only way to make big things happen. -- They give it their all. -- They make commitments, then follow them through. -- They take action when it’s easier not to. -- They look for progress, not excuses. -- They make it as hard as possible for their business to fail. -- They work hard. Really hard. -- They know that shortcuts are almost always costly detours.
Giving a business 100% Every small business owner claims they give their business 100%. What many of them really mean, is that they give their business 100%… of the things they find easy to do. The things that require little risk. The things that keep them from leaving their comfort zones. -- They hire a cheap accountant, rather than a good one. No one can afford a cheap accountant. No one.
AIANC’s STREET WISE
-- They automate their social networking accounts, rather than invest the time needed to build relationships with people.
-- They plan their work and work their plan. -- They refuse to starve their business of the resources it needs. -- They leave work each day, knowing they gave it their best. That’s the mindset you and your business are competing against. That’s the way the best people in every industry operate, including yours.
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-- in November 2011, the DOL completed 46 investigations of pizza and pasta establishments as part of an “ongoing enforcement initiative” in Long Island, New York, and recovered $2,341,507 in back wages for 578 employees. In addition, the agency assessed $202,315 in civil money penalties against employers for willful and repeated FLSA violations, including minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping violations.
Poor Pay Records Can Cost Employers Big Bucks Q&A By Robin Thomas, Managing Editor Editor's Note: These question and answer HR Matters E-Tips articles are taken from real questions submitted by our subscribers, a unique feature of the HR Matters Tools and Resource Center online service. See how it works. If you don’t have accurate records of your employees’ work time, your inadequate recordkeeping could cost you serious penalties. Find out what records you must keep and for how long. Q: We recently discovered that several of our managers were not keeping accurate records of work hours for nonexempt employees. Should we be concerned about these incomplete records? We are working on correcting the problem. A: Yes. While many employers may not think of recordkeeping violations as being a big issue, without proper records, you cannot be sure you are paying for all time actually worked, including overtime. As a result, you leave your organization vulnerable to both employee discontent and expensive wage and hour claims. (Download free Hours of Work model policy including HR best practices and legal background.) Both federal and state wage and hour divisions take recordkeeping very seriously and are including penalties for recordkeeping violations when they find overtime and other wage and hour problems. In addition, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) has implemented initiatives that make it easier for employees to track their work hours, including a calendar for employees to track their regular work hours, break time, and any overtime hours. As a result, you need to put a high priority on getting your recordkeeping in compliance. Here are some recent DOL settlements that illustrate how poor recordkeeping can factor into an expensive wage and hour investigation: -- owners of several New Jersey gas stations agreed to pay $3 million in overtime, back pay, and liquidated damages to over 400 nonexempt employees in March 2013. The employer was cited for, among other things, requiring employees to work “off the books” and failing to maintain adequate records of work hours. -- a Los Angeles firm agreed to pay $260,000 in back pay and liquidated damages to 57 nonexempt employees for willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) overtime and recordkeeping provisions in February 2013. AIANC’s STREET WISE
-- in 2007, the DOL settled a case against a Las Vegas plastering and masonry company for over $1 million in damages involving more than 1,000 employees. In addition to finding overtime violations, the DOL also determined that the employer had failed to keep proper records over a two-year period. As the settlements above show, recordkeeping violations can be expensive. So, you need to make sure that you understand your obligations. The FLSA requires covered employers to maintain basic payroll and other records for each employee, and this is explained in the FLSA regulations at 29 C.F.R. §§516.1, et seq. The regulations do not specify any particular form of records. Below is an overview of the FLSA’s recordkeeping requirements. In general, employers should retain for at least three years, from the last date of entry, payroll records containing the following information: (1) Each employee’s name, as used for Social Security, and the employee’s identification number or symbol, if used in place of the name on any payroll record; (2) Home address and zip code; (3) Date of birth for employees under the age of 19; (4) Sex and occupation; (5) Time and day of the week when the employee’s workweek begins; (6) Regular rate of pay for any week when overtime is worked, hours worked each workday and total hours worked each workweek, total daily or weekly straighttime earnings, and total overtime compensation for the workweek (this requirement applies only to nonexempt employees); (7) Total additions to or deductions from wages for each pay period; (8) Total wages for each pay period, date of payment, and pay period covered by the payment; (9) Certain collective bargaining agreements, plans, and trusts; employment contracts; and notices of the Wage and Hour Administrator; and (10) Sales and purchase records for employees who are subject to minimum wage requirements. In addition, you also should keep supplementary basic records for all employees for at least two years. These records include: Continued on page 14
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Poor Pay Records Continued from page 12 (1) Wage rate tables; (2) Work time schedules, time cards or sheets, and records of amount of work produced by each employee; (3) Order, shipping, and billing records; and (4) Records of additions to or deductions from wages paid. Note, too, that the record retention requirements stated in the FLSA are minimums. Most HR and legal experts suggest that employers maintain their payroll records through the worker’s employment plus five to ten years to ensure they are available if a claim is filed. (Download free Personnel Records model policy including HR best practices and legal background.) And, just in case you are not keeping accurate records, the DOL encourages employees to keep their own separate time records by providing the “Work Hours Calendar” for employees (online at http://www.dol.gov/whd/FLSAEmployeeCard/calendarR5 Web.pdf ). The calendar was launched in October 2010 “to help workers make sure they are properly paid at the end of the work week.” The Work Hours Calendar counsels employees to record when they arrive at work, actually start working, stop working, leave work, take leave, and take meal breaks and other breaks. It closes with what appears to be a call to action for employees to file complaints: “You work hard, and you have the right to be paid fairly. It is a serious problem when workers in this country are not being paid every cent they earn. All services are free and confidential, whether you are documented or not. Please remember that your employer cannot terminate you or in any other manner discriminate against you for filing a complaint with WHD.” The Work Hours Calendar even is available as a free Apple smartphone application for employees. These employee records could be used to determine overtime and other payment records. If an employer fails to keep proper records of work hours, the DOL often relies on employee testimony to establish the number of hours worked. So, for example, in Brown v. Family Dollar Stores of Ind., LP, 534 F.3d 593 (7th Cir. 2008), ruling in favor of an employee who brought a claim for overtime wages, the court found that she presented evidence that the employer's records were not in compliance with the FLSA and could not be trusted. The court therefore relied on her testimony regarding the store's operating hours and the holiday schedule to provide a "just and reasonable inference" of the uncompensated hours owed.
And, if you are targeted as part of one of the DOL’s “ongoing enforcement initiatives,” all of your pay records may be fair game. In these situations, you may have to produce payroll and time records from the previous two or three years. Remember, too, if your organization is found to have violated the FLSA because you have inadequate records and cannot defend against an employee’s own time records, your organization likely would face not only back wage payments but also civil monetary penalties. And, just to make matters more interesting, the FLSA can impose personal liability for decision-makers, including fines and imprisonment for management employees found responsible for the violations. So, make sure your payroll records are in order and accurate. Content for your HR Matters E-Tips newsletter is developed from our flagship publication, the HR Matters Tools and Resource Center, featuring the Personnel Policy Manual System (PPMS). See how it works. Subscribers to the PPMS and HR Policy Answers on CD can find more information on recordkeeping requirements in Personnel Records, Chapter 901, note 12, and on the FLSA specifically in Hours of Work, Chapter 207, note 22. If you don't have access to the PPMS, but would like to have a free, no-obligation 14-day review, go to: www.ppspublishers.com/ppm-ez.htm Or just give us a call at 1-800-437-3735. YOU CAN TRUST PPS Information provided in HR Matters E-Tips is researched and reviewed by the HR experts at Personnel Policy Service as well as employment law attorneys. However, it is not intended as legal advice. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate legal or other professional advice. Interested in using an article from HR Matters E-Tips on your Web site or in a newsletter? Please contact Robin Thomas, Managing Editor of Personnel Policy Service, Inc., to request permission. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the information in every issue of HR Matters E-Tips is the original, copyrighted work of Personnel Policy Service, Inc., and is protected under U.S. copyright laws. As such, you may not reprint or publish in any format any article or portion of article from HR Matters E-Tips without the express permission of Personnel Policy Service, Inc.
Remember, too, we encourage you to pass along any As a final point, even if only one employee is alleging issue of the E-Tips by forwarding it to friends and a single FLSA violation, it is important to remember that colleagues. the DOL can – and often will – investigate all of your relevant records to search for other possible violations. AIANC’s STREET WISE Page 14 June, 2013
How’s Your Financial Knowledge? Yesterday, LIMRA published the results of a quiz it conducted, gauging Americans’ knowledge of basic financial and retirement topics. (LIMRA: A Third of Americans Fail Financial Literacy Quiz). As Americans are required to take greater responsibility for their retirement saving, LIMRA wanted to get an idea of the challenges they face understanding broad financial concepts. Our results show there is a great opportunity to help Americans improve their financial knowledge and make responsible decisions about systematic savings and retirement planning. We thought it would be interesting for our readers to take the quiz and compare their results to how the general public scored.
Answers on page 18 AIANC’s STREET WISE
How’s Your Financial
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Check out the demo link at: www.insuresign.com/demo When is the Best Time to Buy Disability Insurance? If the Jeopardy! Game answer is: “The moment you start earning a paycheck,” then the question is: “When is the best time to buy disability insurance?” Research shows that even the workers who know this question and answer, don’t act on the information. According to the recent LIMRA/ LIFE Foundation 2013 Insurance Barometer Study 7 in 10 employed consumers agree that most people need disability insurance and half agree they need it “personally.” However, only 30% of workers actually own disability insurance, whether through their employer or an individual policy. LIMRA has put together a “Myths and Facts” sheet to help workers better understand the importance of disability insurance. You can find the Myths and Facts about Disability Insurance here.
PONDERISMS 1- I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. 2- There are two kinds of pedestrians . . . The quick and the dead. 3- Life is sexually transmitted. 4- Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die. 5- The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth. 6- Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. 7- Have you noticed since everyone has a cell phone these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to? 8- Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again. 9- All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
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When Selling is a Bad Idea
Okay, so what about the customer? He or she loses, too? How can that be? Yes, counter-intuitive. So, consider: 1. At best, lack of service. If there is little or no profit, the vendor is not able to provide the very best care and service. I don’t mean they don’t want to, but they probably are not able to! (See point #2 above.) 2. At worst, an out-of-biz vendor. Certainly if the seller won this buyer’s business based on low price, they are doing the same with others. They are not making a large enough profit and that spells disaster. Disaster for them. Inconvenience for the buyer.
by BOB BURG on 04/24/2013 · 0 COMMENTS “Competing on price alone is a race to the bottom, and it’s a race nobody wins.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having the lower price. However, don’t make that their reason for buying. Sell on value with the bonus being that it’s also the lowest price. Rarely is that the case but, if it is, by all means, communicate it. How Do You Want to Be Positioned?
Why do I say that nobody wins when the salespeople compete on price alone? First, please allow a slight correction: there are huge super-store type places whose entire Value Proposition is indeed that they have the lowest prices. They do very well. And, their customers get what they want, as well. I’m talking about you, me, and the vast majority of businesses in our mainly free-enterprise based economy. By and large, focusing your presentation on having the lowest price is hugely counterproductive. And, truly, no one wins; the one who loses the sale loses in terms of not having the sale. The company and salesperson obtaining the sale loses. And, yes, even the customer loses. The first one above is obvious. But, why does the winner actually lose? 1. Live/Die by the Sword. Win the sale based on lowest price and you will most likely lose your customer the moment someone new comes along with an even lower price. If they buy from you on price, they’ll also leave you based on price. 2. Lack of Profit. Or, as Chubby Checker famously asked, “How low can you go?” If you go low enough, you won’t have enough profit to keep your business sustainable. Plus, you’ll be investing time, energy and service into an account that doesn’t pay for itself, keeping you from acquiring and properly serving other, more profitable accounts. Or, you might need to provide less service for accepting the low price, which will harm your customer, and cost you in effectiveness and reputation…and ultimately, new business. Reminds me of the person who says, “Well, sure, we lose money on every sale…but we make it up in volume.”
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What it really comes down to is this:
When you sell on price, you are a commodity.
When you sell on value, you are a resource.
It’s quite understandable that the customer is going to try and obtain the lowest price possible, if they possibly can. Though, they’d be well-advised to heed the famous words John Ruskin when it comes to buying on low price alone. “It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” – John Ruskin, English critic, essayist, & reformer (1819 – 1900) I received a question from a reader of my blog: “What percentage of buyers do you think buy on price?” While I don’t have any figures, I’m not sure the question itself is correct. Why? Because, if you ask people what their determining factor is in the buying process, many (not all, but many) will tell you it’s price. Yet, the results are often quite different. Have you ever walked into a store determined to buy something simply on low price and come away with a better, more expensive product and were happy it worked out that way? Continued on page 24
Sell Your Customers’ Stuff
When Selling is a Bad Idea Continued from page 22
By Steve Beecham
Most people will answer yes. And, it was most likely the result of good salesmanship. No, not in selling a person something they don’t want or need (that’s not salesmanship – that conartist-ship). Rather, finding out if what the customer wants is really the cheapy brand or something of higher quality. And, a professional salesperson determines that by asking questions and listening.
Don’t you hate receiving phone solicitations, particularly the cold call version? This week someone randomly called me and tried to convince me to use her payroll service. I know you get calls like these during your day. The question is, are you one of the people making these calls? Are you the person who calls when it is convenient for you, demanding the attention of the person you are calling?
Of course, not everyone claims low price as their ultimate buying value. Personally, I tend to buy more on convenience. Others I know buy on style. Still, others buy on what they believe will most impress others. I’m sure there are other reasons, as well and I’m not judging any of them. I’m also not implying, or saying that any of them is the correct reason.
If you are, here is a fun way to beat the need to cold call: SELL YOUR CUSTOMERS’ STUFF!
I am saying that “low price” is often what people think is their determining factor when it usually isn’t. Best Not to Fall Victim to False Assumptions Automatically and reactively coming down on price believing that’s going to cause the prospect to buy is usually not the correct move. Sure, they’d like the lowest price they can obtain from you in exchange for the most value they can obtain from you. Who can blame them? All else being equal, that makes sense. For reasons already explained, however, we know that selling on price alone will hurt both you and your prospect. So, as a sales professional, don’t get sucked into thinking that what you automatically need to do is lower your price. After all, they’re not buying on price, even if they really believe that is their motivating factor. Bonus thought: If you are a “price buyer” then you will most likely believe your prospects are, too. Your inclination will then be to focus on low price. And, you’ll be surprised when they still don’t buy from you (unless you’ve luckily come across another true price buyer). The same for whatever type buyer you are. So, remember…your buyer is not you, and you are not your buyer. Find out what’s important to them, not to you. And sell based on what they value.
If you spend some of your time selling your friends’ businesses you will be amazed at the referrals they will send you. My friend Clint has a ServiceMaster business here in Atlanta and I have been introducing him to my village of potential customers and contacts. I’m now on his sales team. In return he has been introducing me to his village of contacts. My friend Lance works for an exterminating company. I have been introducing him to property managers, restaurant people and others in my village. He has been doing the same for me. If you spend a portion of your day helping your friends make a sale, you are certain to accomplish two things. 1) Instead of cold calling, you now have a reason to call your warm/hot friends to ask them who they know that could use your friend’s service. They will then give you names of people to contact which gives you an opportunity to meet someone new. Now you not only have the chance to brag on your friend but also to tell them what you do. 2) If you help a friend make a sale or introduce them to people that they would like to meet, there is a high probability they will do the same for you. Be careful here and make sure you are introducing them for the right reason. If you are, the result will be reciprocity at its best. The bottom line is – it feels good to do business this way. And that’s something I don’t think many people would say about cold calling. http://www.bassackwardbusiness.com/sell-yourcustomers-stuff/
[Ed. Note: Bob Burg is coauthor of the International Bestseller, The Go-Giver. The book has been published in 21 languages and has sold over 250,000 copies. Check out this brief and entertaining, recently- released overview of the book at www.burg.com/tgg. And, of course, feel free to share it with others.]
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I realize that if you are doing little or no prospecting, four hours is a big jump, so start with an hour or two and build from there. For 95% of you, following this one tip alone will give you all the prospects you’ll ever need.
Seven Keys to Filling Your Pipeline with Tons of Qualified Prospects by John Chapin
2) Be consistent.
While a lack of sales can be caused by something other than not having enough prospects, generally speaking, most salespeople who miss their numbers do so because they have far too few selling opportunities which is usually caused by having far too few qualified prospects. Following are some ideas to ensure you never have this problem again.
A big problem I see with prospecting is a lack of consistency. A salesperson does a ton of prospecting until he or she has enough business or appointments, then they stop prospecting. When business and appointments drop, they go back to doing a ton of prospecting again. In order to be good and stay good at prospecting and have a steady stream of prospects, you have to be consistent. Sure, there may be times when you’re out of balance, but even when you have plenty of business and appointments, block off some time to prospect.
Seven Ideas to Get all the Prospects You’ll Ever Need 1) Spend at least four hours a day prospecting. Yes, four hours, that’s not a misprint. In order to get a sufficient number of leads, you need to spend a significant amount of time prospecting. For most salespeople spending far too little time prospecting is their primary issue. If you’re wondering where you’ll find four hours in a day, the answer is simple:
3) Choose active rather than passive prospecting activities.
First, stop wasting time on unqualified prospects you’ll never convert. You know who these people are, you’ve been calling them for months, maybe even years. Either get rid of them immediately, or give them one final call and tell them this is the last time you can contact them, it’s do business now or never. Second, stop over contacting and irritating the qualified leads. As mentioned in a previous article, the reason salespeople tend to keep unqualified prospects in their funnel and harass and over-contact the qualified leads is because they have no one else to call. Spending a lot of time prospecting will give you an abundance of prospects and solve both these issues. Third, cut out all the busy work you do to avoid the hard work of prospecting. Most of us are very creative at coming up with ways to avoid hard work from cleaning up our desks and doing paperwork in the middle of the day, to scheduling doctor appointments and other personal items during prime calling times. Stop it! Finally, schedule your prospecting time and stick to the schedule. For example, block off 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for prospecting and don’t allow anything to infringe on that time. AIANC’s STREET WISE
Phone calls, knocking on doors, asking for and calling referrals, and networking are all examples of active prospecting because you control the contact. Mailers, social media, the internet, radio and television ads, and other similar marketing techniques are all passive because you have to rely on someone to contact you. When it comes to prospecting you want to be in control of the numbers and the only way to do that is through active prospecting. While it’s good to have aspects of both active and passive marketing in your prospecting plan, far too many salespeople put most of their effort into passive methods because they are easier and more comfortable. On the flip side, they are also far less effective than active prospecting. 4) Get better at prospecting. Of course you always want to be getting better in each area of the sales process and prospecting is no exception. When you get better at prospecting, you can make fewer calls and work less, while at the same time getting better, more qualified prospects. Read books and articles, listen to and watch programs of prospecting, and perhaps most important, find people who are highly successful at getting lots of good, qualified prospects, find out what they do, and then take the same actions. Continued on page 27
Seven Keys Continued from page 26
what you have”, or “I know someone who needs what you have.” If you’re going to get an abundance of prospects, you need to talk to an abundance of people.
5) Do whatever you have to in order to get the prospects you need.
For access to John Chapin’s free monthly newsletter, go to: http://www.completeselling.com
You need to be committed to getting the number of prospects you have to get in order to be successful. If it takes six hours of cold calling and making calls on the weekend, that’s what you do. The bottom line is: you must be willing to make tons of phone calls, knock on tons of doors, and talk to tons of people in order to get the prospects you need.
John is an award-winning sales speaker, trainer and coach. With over 24 years of sales he is a number one sales rep in three industries, and author of the goldmedal winning "Sales Encyclopedia".
6) Keep track of numbers and results. If you go to a networking event for four hours and talk to one or two average prospects, that is not a good use of prospecting time. If you get on the phone for four hours and get ten qualified prospects, that is a good use of prospecting time. You have to know where you’re effective and not effective and spend your time on the right activities. 7) Prospecting is a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more prospects you will get. If you talk to enough people during the day, you will eventually bump into someone who says, “I need AIANC’s STREET WISE
For permission to reprint, or if you have sales questions, e-mail: email@example.com. John Chapin Complete Selling, Inc. Helping you find and get all the business you want Cell: 508-243-7359 firstname.lastname@example.org www.completeselling.com LINKEDIN: once logged in find me under: johnchapin1 FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/johnjchapin TWITTER: http://twitter.com/johnjchapin # 1 Sales Rep in 3 industries, Author of the gold-medal winning SALES ENCYCLOPEDIA - The most comprehensive "how-to" guide on selling. Page 27
Zalma Insurance Fraud Letter The Essential Resource for the Insurance Fraud Professional A ClaimSchool ™ Publication, Written by Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE © 2013 ClaimSchool, Inc. & Barry Zalma Go to Zalma Books – E-Books and Articles by Barry Zalma – http://www.zalma.com/zalmabooks.htm Free!
Subscribe to e-mail Version, it's http://www.zalma.com/ZIFL-CURRENT.htm Go to my blog http://zalma.com/blog
Younger respondents, especially young men, were much more likely to view claim padding as acceptable. For example, among males age 18-34, 23 percent agree it is all right to increase claim amounts to make up for premiums, compared with just 5 percent of their older male counterparts and just 8 percent of females aged 18-34. The IRC study, "Insurance Fraud: A Public View, 2013 Edition," also found that 86 percent of Americans agree with the statement "insurance fraud leads to higher rates for everyone," while 10 percent agree that "insurance fraud doesn't hurt anyone." Respondents showed support for fraud-fighting efforts. Two-thirds (66 percent) approved of legislation to limit attorney and medical provider access to police accident reports for the purposes of soliciting new clients or patients, a marked increase from 2002. Eight in 10 were willing to participate in claim processes that could help insurers detect and prevent fraud, such as examinations under oath (85 percent) or independent medical exams (80 percent). Eighty-two percent agreed that persons who commit insurance fraud should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, although the consequences favored for specific fraud activities were generally less severe than in 2002. The 2012 results are from an online survey conducted in June 2012 among 2,005 adults countrywide. Survey results were weighted by known demographic distributions to ensure that the final results were representative of the total U.S. adult population. For more detailed information on the methodology and findings from this study or previous IRC studies of insurance fraud attitudes, contact David Corum, at (484) 831 - 9046, or by e - mail at irc@TheInstitutes.org. Copies of the study are available for $300 for an electronic version, or $400 for a printed copy. Visit IRC's website at www.insurance-research.org for more information.
Barry Zalma, Esq, is available as a consultant,
Do You Wonder Why There is So Much Fraud? Twenty-four percent of Americans believe it is acceptable to increase an insurance claim by a small amount to make up for deductibles they are required to pay. That is lower than the 33 percent found in 2002, according to new findings from an online Insurance Research Council (IRC) public opinion study. Additionally, 18 percent believe it is acceptable to increase a claim to make up for premiums paid in previous years when they had no claims, the lowest percentage since the question was first asked in a 1981 in-home survey.
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Reports of Convictions From the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud – http://www.InsuranceFraud.org A Miami-area clinic recruited local transit workers to pretend they were hurt so the clinic could lodge false treatment claims, prosecutors charge. A Miami-Dade county bus driver let AZJ Medical Center bill for 135 visits and 758 treatments even though he only received handful of massages, prosecutors say. Another transit driver allegedly signed many blank medical forms so AZJ could bill for more than 30 phantom visits and treatments. The clinic made yet another suspected false claim for a transit worker who supposedly banged his elbow on — get this — a towel holder. AZJ allegedly bribed bus driver Nancy Maradey $6,000 to use her name for fake knee treatments and to recruit other workers. A therapy assistant allegedly received $45 for each "progress" form he signed for clients that he never treated. The claims were filed against AvMed, which administers Miami-Dade County's self-insured health plan. * The Eighth Commandment — don't steal — was no barrier to a pastor's auto con. The son of Kyung Soon AIANC’s STREET WISE
Kim's business associate bought a Lexus but left to work in South Korea and never picked up the car. The Montgomery Township, Pa. man drove the Lexus for a year and rolled up 45,000 miles. His crony Kathleen Bangwhan Chung then told Liberty Mutual that someone stole it from the Melrose Shopping Center, in Cheltenham. The insurer paid out $42,053. But she actually had a cohort park the Lexus in the shoppingcenter parking lot, left the keys in the car and called 911 after Kim drove the car to his house. He then hid the Lexus in his garage for three years. Kim received two consecutive weekends in county jail, seven years of probation and 200 hours of community service. * An agent fleeced actor Tom Hanks and his wife out of more than $800,000 by overbilling them for insurance. Southern California producer Jerry Goldman created false invoices on his letterhead for premium payments. He inflated the payments as much as 600 percent. When clients asked Goldman for copies of their policies, he redacted the true premiums to cover up the crime. Goldman was Hanks' and wife Rita Wilson's agent for 20 years. They relied on him for all manner of personal and business coverage. The scam surfaced when the couple retained a new agent, who discovered that premiums for some policies were extraordinarily high. Goldman pleaded guilty and could be locked away for up to 60 years when sentenced.
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* A Maryland appeals court has upheld the criminal conviction of heart doc Robert McLean, who implanted useless stents in the heart arteries of more than 100 patients. He falsely billed insurers nearly $580,000 while working at a hospital in Salisbury. He'd received eight years and one month in federal prison. * Former cop Robert Iain Walker's auto scheme rolled over. The Price, Utah officer was having marital problems and wanted to unload his 2012 Dodge truck. He let his wife believe the truck had accidentally rolled down a steep hill and received extensive damage. She made the insurance claim, but Walker finally admitted he let the truck barrel down. He lost his job, received up to five years in prison and must repay the insurer $22,000.
Questions? Contact Eddie K. Emmett at email@example.com or (770) 312-2342. HU
* A St. Louis-area chiro spent a profitable time billing for creatively false treatments. Dr. Anthony Calandro went after 18 insurers in the $1-million ploy. His cons were limited only by his imagination. He'd take one or two X-rays but bill for eight or 12. He charged for whirlpool therapy despite not having a whirlpool. Billing for thousands of phantom cancelled or missed appointments was another money-maker. Calandro received 72 months in federal prison Tuesday. * It was hard to tell the living from the dead in mortician Jean Crump's inventive fake-death schemes to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars in life-insurance money. The Los Angeles-area woman invented "Jim
AIANC’s STREET WISE
Davis." Poor guy died from a heart attack, his bogus death certificate said. Crump also bought a grave plot and held a funeral to throw off investigators. She even weighted down Jim's casket with a mannequin, and cow bones and guts so funeral-parlor workers lugging Jim to his final resting place wouldn't grow suspicious. Crump also pulled off the fake cremation of a woman who'd died years earlier. Among the expenses were for a limo, body refrigeration and a casket. Crump and her cronies sought as much as $1.2 million in life and funeral insurance overall, but netted around $315,000. Crump doggedly stuck to her lies at trial. She still denied witnessing a crony sign a fake document even after being shown the videotaped transaction in front of the judge. She received 18 months in federal prison, and life in the Coalition's Insurance Fraud Hall of Shame.
* A Russian student will be deported after serving a one-year sentence for over-insuring clunker cars and then wrecking them. Rustern Mukhametshin came to Anchorage, Alaska on a student visa. His visa expired but he stayed on to run his scam. He bought wrecked cars, made minimal or no repairs and registered them. Mukhametshin then insured the cars at a higher value as if they were in reasonable and normal condition. Next he crashed the cars and collected his inflated insurance dollars. His wrecks usually came late at night in a remote area to minimize witnesses. He also filed claims for phantom collisions. Mukhametshin and a crony collected more than $70,000 from Geico.
Continued on page 31
and masked the arson as a training exercise was sentenced March 23, 2013 to 364 days in the Salem County Jail and two years’ probation. Reports of Convictions From the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud – http://www.InsuranceFraud.org
* Joseph Thomas Rebic said someone burglarized his car while it was parked for 45 minutes in a Tacoma, Wash. mall parking lot. The driver's door window was broken, and the trunk liner was damaged. The thief lifted several items, including a $179 GPS device, $1,189 Canon camera and lenses, and a bow and arrows worth $1,200, he said. The thefts totaled about $2,880 plus $350 for the car damage, Rebic claimed. But his con quickly tumbled. State Farm cancelled his claim after he failed to show up for an appointment with an investigator. The insurance department's fraud bureau then looked deeper. The mall's parking-lot video shows no one approaching the vehicle or stealing items after Rebic leaves. He pleaded guilty Wednesday and received 240 hours of community service. Fire Chief to Spend Year In Jail for Arson Patrick Foster of Quinton Township, New Jersey, the former chief of a southern New Jersey fire company who helped a property owner burn down an abandoned home AIANC’s STREET WISE
The 47-year-old pleaded guilty last December to arson and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He also resigned from the fire department and is barred from holding any public position or employment. State authorities say Foster sent fire company members to the abandoned house in December 2010 and had them douse the second floor with gasoline before setting it on fire. Foster admitted doing this to gain assistance from the property owner's son, who was the township's housing official. Prosecutors proved Foster wanted to obtain a certificate of occupancy in connection with renovations he was making to his own home. Foster also admitted that he hindered the investigation by lying to authorities, telling them his wife knew of an arrangement between him and the housing official regarding the fire and the certificate of occupancy. Prosecutors noted that it's illegal for firefighters to burn down a standard, existing structure for training purposes, citing the stringent requirements that must be met for "live-burn" training. They also said a permit is required for such training exercises, and no permit was obtained in this case.
* Lionel Scott Ellison’s sink con sank. The Billings, Mont.-area man said villainous burglars crept into his home, plugged up his sink and sprayed graffiti on his walls. The overflowing sink caused plenty of damage to his basement right below, he lied. But there was no evidence a plugged sink had caused the water damage. In fact, the damage was caused by a burst water pipe in the sink. He also spray-painted the graffiti himself. Ellison pleaded guilty but insisted he didn’t commit the crime. He received two years in prison deferred.
* Robert Steve Mills hawked phony policies to apartments, condo associations, bars, restaurants, trucks, taxi services, charter aircraft and other businesses. The Bonita Springs, Fla. man sold the coverage from Texas and American Samoa, through supposed “benefit associations.” The tour boat Ethan Allen was operated by one victim. It sank, killing 20 elderly tourists on a lake in upstate New York. The operator discovered his liability coverage was fake. Mills scored $2.5 million in stolen premiums from his shady dealings and received 10 years in federal prison Wednesday. Several cohorts also have been convicted. AIANC’s STREET WISE
* A heart doc deliberately misdiagnosed up to 80 percent of his patients with maladies to scam$19 million from Medicare. The New York City-based Jose Katz subjected patients to unneeded and potentially lifethreatening treatments. They had coronary heart disease and angina, Katz lied. He used pneumatic cuffs to compress blood vessels in the lower limbs to increase blood flow to the heart. Katz even prescribed the treatment when it exposed patients to risk of injury or death, prosecutors said. It’s the largest insurance fraud ever by a doc in New York or New Jersey, prosecutors say. The Cuban-born doc spent $6 million in advertising to lure Spanish-speaking patients. * Todd Paffrath’s jewelry heist had no sparkle. The third-generation jeweler from Willmar, Minn. filed a $15,528 claim for a diamond ring stolen from his store. He submitted an invoice, but an insurer’s appraisal pegged the value at $10,000 less than his claim. Paffrath then switched gears, saying the invoice was for a ring of similar value, not the ring itself. He quickly repaid the insurance settlement after the ring later was discovered at a pawn shop in a nearby town. Paffrath will serve three years of probation and pay a $1,000 fine.
accidentally label your concrete foundation business as “cuisine” and miss out on searchers. Respond to reviews. This is an often overlooked area in optimization. Getting good reviews makes Google very happy. Your site will have more authority with Google with the more positive reviews your get. It takes time and can be a rude awakening, but respond to good and bad reviews alike. This not only establishes a connection with the reviewer, but shows the community you are engaged and are willing to solve problems. This can also help boost the number of reviews you get which can help rank you higher in the local listings.
Judy Yanniruberto firstname.lastname@example.org 2500 South Millbend, Suite 2304 Houston, TX 77380 281-310-1590 Getting the Local Search Part Right Local SEO is probably one of the toughest on-line marketing strategies to implement and many small business owners are clueless on how to market themselves online. This is partly because of Google’s strict local algorithm, which takes into account several factors unique to local SEO. Often, small businesses are tremendously local in nature. With this in mind, is your website optimized for your neighborhood, town, or city? The following tips can help your local marketing campaign so that it hits home and increases your local client base.
It can be easy to accidentally overuse keywords so we make them appear naturally within your content. Beef Up Local SEO Keywords Before you can call your website successful in your own backyard, it must be optimized for local searches. By generating a local keyword list and adding these keywords strategically in your site, you will be targeting the population that is more likely to become your potential client or customer base. Our company stays abreast of Google’s current accepted practices for use of keywords. You don’t want your site considered spam. We choose a radius around your business and include town names, zip codes, and abbreviations within that radius to include as keywords. We ensure your site displays your address and will also include your city and state address using Google’s schema.org
Check Your Listing The first thing you need to do is check you’re listing. You need to know how your site is seen by the search engines. You can find that out by going to our Local Search Tool. Get Listed on Local Directories
Maintain Local Content
One of the most important marketing steps your business can take is to sign up to be listed on Google+Local. If this report tells you that they are not set up you need to set it up immediately. In fact, there’s no reason not to be since it’s a free listing. Google reported that ninety-seven percent of people in America search for local businesses and Google is the search engine leader. It makes perfect marketing sense to list your business in their directory. Being a busy business owner this process can be time consuming to both set up and monitor. That’s where companies like ours at BizVizable come into play. We have the support staff dedicated daily to ensuring you are current in your optimizing local strategies. By our company doing this step alone you will have the potential to increase traffic to your website and sales for your business. We also sign you up for Yahoo, Bing, other preferred search engines and directories like yellowbook, manta.com and info411. In addition, our staff ensures: Make sure all of your contact information (especially physical address) is the same across all directories, social media and websites. Also make sure that you’ve put your business under the correct category in the directories as well. If you can, keep the category the same. Don’t label AIANC’s STREET WISE
Creating local keyword-rich content is another way to improve your local SEO. Hiring an SEO specialist who is adept at microdata, infographics, and trending content is key. By including locally-based content, you can increase your rankings locally. We offer services where your site is referenced in multiple articles and press releases on a monthly basis. Creating these back links is crucial to local optimization success. Being a locallybased insurance agent, we will post local content that relates to your business: recent changes in health care insurance laws, new state legislation, buying insurance tips, etc…No matter what your business, we can produce content that resonates with a local audience and relates to your products or services. Establishing a blog on your site is a great way to produce fresh, relevant, and keyword dense content. Great content also naturally builds link as sites link to it. Remember if you aren’t a wordsmith, we have an entire department of experienced writers and bloggers that will develop content for you. Anything on your site needs to read well not only for visitors, but for Google’s crawlers as well. This is where many small businesses fail. They write content for the reader and not for Google’s crawlers. Continued on page 34
Getting the Local Search Part Right Continued from page 33 Be Locally Social Social media is big today. Staying ahead of the competition in this area is critical to online marketing success. Having a team of dedicated and skilled fulfillment staff in this area will not only help in your ranking, it will offer more local marketing opportunities for you to reach out to your potential local client. Check out Facebook groups for local community organizations. Marketing to a local audience on sites like Facebook and Twitter helps keep you in tune with your regional area.
You can market directly to these groups or simply maintain an active presence by staying in touch with your local client base. By posting regularly, we increase the likelihood that your viewers will follow the links back to your website. In fact, by incorporating links to your local content, you stand to drastically increase traffic to your own website. I hope this introductory article helps explain some of the new internet marketing areas for local business growth. Please contact me at www.bizvizablehouston.com for more information on how my company can increase your presence locally. AIANC Membership has its Advantages! Download “Setting Realistic Goals for CSRs” at www.AutoInsuranceAgentsNC.com
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Reports of Convictions From the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud – http://www.InsuranceFraud.org The former owner of a New York City-area cab fleet ducked $10 million in commercial auto premiums by lying that his vehicles were based in a lower-risk, lowerpremium location. Scott Eric Sanders owned numerous livery firms such as Always Available Private Car. He lied that the fleets were stored in rural Orange and Dutchess County, and used as lower-risk ambulettes and limos. He also illegally listed others as heads of his companies to hide his personal stake. The New York Automobile Insurance Plan, which insures vehicles that cannot find coverage in the private market, was a lead player in the investigation. Sanders was convicted Tuesday and faces up to 120 years in prison when sentenced in July. * Peter St. Laurent’s car collided with a jersey barrier near a highway exit to Nashua, N.H. one night. Progressive Insurance issued an auto policy to him about 1 ½ hours later. The car was towed to his mother’s home just a few minutes away. The next day St. Laurent told Progressive he crashed just after buying the policy. He withdrew the claim after investigators began probing his story. Too late. He received a year in state prison, suspended. The case was investigated by the state AG and insurance department’s fraud bureau. * Paying recruiters a small fortune netted chiro Scott Greenberg a larger fortune. The central New Jersey man forked over $100,000 in kickbacks to recruiters he hired to send him 164 patients. Greenberg then fraudulently billed auto insurers more than $650,000 for bogus treatment. New Jersey makes hiring or being a recruiter a specific crime. The court didn’t look kindly upon Greenberg, slapping him with six years in prison on Monday. Three of his runners have been handed sentences of up to four years. The state Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor played a lead role in the investigation and conviction. * The drywall con has dried up. Jaime and Lawrence Beroth both claimed they were injured at work and filed claims with the Washington state workers comp insurer. Both Beroths said they could no longer work. Jaime inhaled more than $100,000 in comp money and Lawrence $123,000. But acting on a tip, the agency caught the couple running a drywall business with few apparent medical limits. Jaime received all of 30 days of community service, and Lawrence 20 days.
AIANC’s STREET WISE
* Two schemes tried to lift more than $36 million from Medicare and Medicaid. First, Louis and Verna Age paid recruiters to obtain Medicare beneficiary info. The Slidell, La. couple hired docs to sign referrals and certifications for worthless home-health services. Verna was head of nursing for South Louisiana Home Health Care. She falsified and ordered staffers to fake certification evaluations and other forms to make the home-health services seem medically needed. The Ages billed taxpayers$17.1 million before being federally convicted this week ... In the second scheme, Donald Gibson ordered, prescribed and authorized useless diagnostic tests and other procedures such as allergy tests, pulmonary function tests, vestibular tests, urodynamic tests and physical therapy. These tests were billed to Medicare and Medicaid for payment under Gibson's billing number. But the Richmond, Va. man’s crony Sunday Joseph Edem hid his ownership of the clinic by operating them under the names of others. Together they tried to steal at least $19.4 million. The cheaters in both cons will be sentenced later. * A federal court granted American Service Insurance summary judgment seeking non-coverage of crash losses because the policyholder allegedly lied about where he lived. The insurer issued Ferdy Garcia an auto policy. He was involved in a crash with numerous others less than three weeks later. ASI sued Garcia and the crash claimants. The insurer sought a declaration of non-coverage. It alleged Garcia was a New York resident who lied that he lived in Virginia when buying the policy. Pay stubs from his employer in Brentwood, N.Y. showed he worked 33 hours a week there. He couldn’t have lived in Virginia while working those hours in New York, the insurer contended. The U.S. District Court in New York agreed, granting summary judgment for ASI. [Am. Serv. Ins. Co. v. Garcia, No. 11-4664 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 8, 2013)]
Zalma's Insurance Fraud Letter © 2013 by Barry Zalma, & ClaimSchool, Inc. 4441 Sepulveda Blvd, CULVER CITY CA 902304847 http://www.zalma.com http://zalma.com/blog
ZIFL is made available by the publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using ZIFL you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. ZIFL should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Wayne Hooper Reports: Fire! By Wayne Hooper
I began this article as a study on fire statistics because of the situation in Suwanee, Ga. in April, where a mentally disturbed person made a false call about a heart attack, then took some Gwinnett County fire fighters hostage. His home had been foreclosed on and was going up for sale. He made demands that he wanted his power, cable and Cell phone turned back on before he released the hostages! This turned out badly for the hostage taker, but when the shooting was over the firemen were physically ok. The media said the taking firemen hostage, who saves people, was very rare. I thought I would check some statistics and assumptions that I was taught in CPCU and my insurance courses to see if they were correct. I have always wondered where "Yahoo" and "Google" come up with these “gotcha” new articles that make you look for details. It appears you can find a Stat for almost any statement you want to make, even when it is not supporting your world view. My wife and I have these discussions daily. Property and Casualty insurance courses made the insurance based studies in the 1940's and 50's sound as if the trends were as predictable as the rising and setting of the sun. I now know this was all part of the professor's B--S--- to appear to be all knowing and able to statistically predict the future. I believed all of it until I had the chance to work in the real world of rate making. The reality was completely different. Rate making is part statistical, part luck, part market analysis and part artistic creativity. Some of the most profitable competitive programs to hit the market were created by someone who saw a market and had the good luck to not get wiped out in the first critical months of growth. One of the insurance assumptions in "Insurance 101" is the famous" 5 year cycle" for Property and Casualty business. The assumption is over a 5 year period the companies will make money with a certain amount of risk taking. AIANC’s STREET WISE
The market will be more competitive as rates decrease to the point where the marginal players drop out due to losses and the rates increase to profitability over a 5 year period. The trick is to not follow the market to a point where you cannot recover when it returns. Your profitability can be improved by better risk selection through underwriting. Better risk selection has lead the industry to credit scoring, MVR's, Social media reviews, Car fax, physical inspections and Clue reports as the industry tries to squeeze as much profit out of the premium balanced on the cost return of gathering that information. This has been driven by the promises of the reporting companies to give you a snapshot of your customer's life. What the companies do with the information is not their problem, but they take credit in their marketing material for improving profitability. To get a better understanding I reviewed Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and FEMA's Fire statistics. The most comprehensive are FEMA's. See: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/ To save you the pain of sorting through hundreds of spreadsheet pages, as I did, let me summarize some trends and facts. These studies are all incomplete as many states do not ask for the same information. I.E., Mobile Homes are considered single family dwellings for statistic reporting but data captured by South Carolina shows that that in 2012, 25% of all fatal fires were in mobile homes. There are 1.8 million fires reported in the United States in a year. The fire and death rates have trended downward by 20-21% for the last ten years, injuries were down 33.1%, yet the actual value dollar loss was up 27.6% due to increased values. The indirect cost of a fire is estimated to be 8-10 times higher than the direct cost. The number of false alarm calls has dramatically increased in the last few years as the number of real alarms decline. (Somebody needs to go to jail!) Nearly 1 in 5 fires involves a vehicle. (They always seem to happen in Atlanta during rush hour!) The United States has the 4th highest death rate among the leading 25 industrialized nations. The fire fatality rate varies from region to region and State to State because of variations in climate, socioeconomic status, education, demographics, and other factors. Eight States, mostly situated in the Southeast, have death rates between 14 and 33 per million population per capita in 2011, the last year for which we have records. Continued on page 37
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These arson numbers also show a definite spike in intentional fire claims when the mortgage industry collapsed and the economy took a down turn. I didn't copy the non-residential figures but they show a similar pattern.
Wayne Hooper Reports: Fire! Continued from page 36 The following information is copied directly from the National Fire Incident Reporting System "CAUSES OF FIRES AND FIRE LOSSES
2003 -2011 DOLLAR LOSS
At 28 percent, cooking is the leading cause of fires. Incendiary or suspicious fires (arson) cause another 21 percent. These percentages (and those that follow) are adjusted, which proportionally spreads the unknown causes over the other 12 causes.
OVERALL Residential Building Causes
The two leading causes of civilian deaths are arson, at 28 percent, and smoking, at 18 percent. The leading cause of injuries is cooking (24 percent); followed by open flame (18 percent) and arson (17 percent).Arson is, by far, the leading cause of property loss, at 26 percent. RACE, AGE, AND GENDER CHARACTERISTICS OF VICTIMS Fire losses affect all groups and races, rich and poor, North and South, urban and rural, but the problem is higher for some groups than for others. AfricanAmericans and American Indians have much higher fire death rates per capita than the national average. African-Americans comprise a large and disproportionate share of total fire deaths, accounting for 24 percent of fire deaths—nearly twice as high as their share of the overall population. Approximately 50 percent more men die in fires than women. The reasons for this disparity are not known for certain. Suppositions include the greater likelihood of men being intoxicated and the more dangerous occupations of men (most industrial fire fatalities are males).Female fire deaths increase at age 75, and the 75 and older age group accounts for over one-quarter of female fire deaths (28 percent).Male fire deaths, by contrast, are higher in the late midlife years (40 to 54).We also know that men have more injuries trying to extinguish the fire and rescue people than do women. Mid-aged men (20 to 44) have the largest portion of fire injuries. Incendiary and suspicious fires are the leading cause of deaths in 2004; smoking is the second leading cause. Cooking fires are the leading cause of injuries, with incendiary and suspicious as the second leading cause.
OVERALL 1 & 2 Family Causes
People with limited physical and cognitive abilities, especially children and older adults, are at a higher risk of death and injury from fire than other groups. These two age groups accounted for 46 percent of the 2004 fire deaths and 22 percent of estimated fire injuries. " Spontaneous Combustion It has long been a joke in the insurance industry the definition of "spontaneous combustion" was caused by the insured’s insurance policies rubbing together. AIANC’s STREET WISE
Playing with Heat Source
Playing with Heat Source
Continued on page 38
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OVERALL Multi-Family Causes Playing with Heat Source
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In summary, what I found is the 5 year cycle theory is not statistically valid but there is a definite boom to bust cycle in the P&C industry, but it's due competition, reinsurance availability, foreign currency exchanges rates, interest rates and corporate goals for market share.
Offering the LegalShield product is a great opportunity for you to build your own personal success story. Right now, nearly 90% of Americans are without legal protection* - that’s a lot of potential customers.
The fire incident numbers also indicate that arson increases as the economy decreases. (The government has not announced a decline in arson losses might indicate an improving economy! I also noticed being 75 year old Afro-American woman with limited mobility, using a space heater in a mobile home in the District of Columbia can be fatal combination based on the fire statistics. Not much better chance anywhere else.
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Software Developer (Forest City, NC or surrounding area) We are looking for a software developer with lots of experience in vb.net, asp.net, and sql server, who can completely build a complex web application to replace an existing Windows application. We want someone who enjoys working with a team in a leadership and mentor capacity. Besides these things, we want a person that is fun to be around, but works hard. We offer full benefits and a casual work environment. We have office space in Forest City or Hickory for this position, but are open to working from home. Please only apply if you have the qualifications listed. These qualifications are important to our team and we want the right fit for the job. Qualified candidates will interview with our entire team, so get ready. Please submit resume to email@example.com. We will get back to you, if you have the right stuff, within a couple of weeks of your submission. Also, no phone calls please. If you have questions, you are welcome to email Lisa, but because she is busy with Jenesis stuff, meetings and such, please no calls. Thanks for your interest in joining the Jenesis Team!
http://youtu.be/dM64G2CUPm4 AIANC’s STREET WISE
PONDERISMS 10- In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal. 11- How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? 12- Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things and drink whatever comes out'? Hmmmmm, How about eggs ? . . .
14- Why does your OB-GYN leave the room when you get undressed if they are going to look up there anyway? 16- If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from? 17- Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup? 18- Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
13- If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
AIANC’s STREET WISE
19- Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
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Contact Rick Pegram at http://RickRPegram.LegalShield.com
Contact Rick Pegram at http://RickRPegram.LegalShield.com FYI EXPRESS
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